Maulana Sheikh NazimSeeking God's Light in the Children of Adam

Our Lord Almighty said, "O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who
created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain
hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty
toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the
wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you." [Quran, 4: 1]
To believers, men, women, and all of humanity, I greet you with the Islamic
words of greeting, "peace be upon you."
We are gathered here today, at the prestigious United Nations, to address
humanity with the issue of World Peace. This is indeed a holy day, for even the
name of this place, the United Nations, symbolizes our unity as members of the
human race. Almighty Allah, our Creator, our Sustainer, our Lord is looking upon
us seeing human beings of all ages, races, nations, and religions gathered
together on this day.
When we arrived at this auspicious event, we were each granted a tag with a
very dignified title: Shaykh, Bishop, Cardinal, Grand Imam, Grand Rabbi. These
are very respectable titles that we are quite happy to append to ourselves. I am
quite happy also, to have such a tag.
It is an honor to be given an earthly title. Yet consider how much more of an
honor it would be to receive a heavenly one. Every individual has been assigned
a heavenly position, but there is one that is far better than and exemplify the
levels granted to us by God. If we, as spiritual and religious figures, can leave
this meeting having fortified our efforts with awareness of our roles in the Divine
Plan, we will become like beacons of peace, like great lights walking on earth. all
the others. It is "Servant," `Abd, which means to be servant to the Lord.
Whoever seeks to be servant to the Lord will be granted a reward far greater
than a man-made title.
Servant-hood and humility are the keys to achieving unity and contentment for
our race. Indeed, if we were servants to one another, showing respect and
humility before one another, there would be no need for such a gathering. Yet
many abandon humility and respect for their fellows, allowing trouble to develop
between them and spread all over the world.
The human tendency to behave this way is by no means new. The son of the
first man on earth, Cain son of Adam, killed his own brother. His act marked the
beginning of a dangerous tradition that has been carried from generation to
generation, steadily growing worse. Knowing this, Allah Almighty said in the Holy
Quran, the Last Testament:
For that cause, We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a
human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as
if he had killed all mankind. [Quran: 5, 32]
This is the story of the last century, a century filled with death, murder, war,
destruction, savagery and tyranny. In the last century, it was as if we saw the
death of all humankind, for recent wars have led to the death of more people
than populated the entire earth, in earlier times one hundred million, two
hundred million, half a billion. Yet still there is the hope and life that exists in
remembering God.
We are gathered here today priests, rabbis, imams, shaykhs, leaders of our
spiritual and religious communities to pray that the new century, and the new
millennium, will bring the fulfillment of the following verse:
And whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all
mankind. [Quran: 5, 33]
For this reason we hope this meeting will be blessed.
Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
"Whoever relieves his brother of a trial or a difficulty in this life, God will relieve
him of a trial in the next life."
Helping each other is the true essence of brotherhood. When Cain killed his
blood brother Abel, he replaced brotherhood with hatred and enmity. If we can
leave this enmity and hatred and replace it with love for the common good, we
will return to the original state of brotherhood, regardless of blood ties, and
achieve unity and harmony.
This is a part of the message of Islam. It is not a new message, but one that has
been repeated for thousands of years. Just as your television receives a regular
transmission, broadcasting information on every channel, so God's message is a
delivered again and again. The transmission permeates all channels, all aspects
of life, all periods of time, stopping only when the receiver, the television, the
person, is turned off.
Let us leave the television on and listen for the message our Creator is repeating
for us to hear and obey. If we do not obey, it is indeed dangerous for us. For
example, cigarette packages around the world prominently display messages
such as, "smoking is dangerous to your health." It is repeated on every carton,
so everyone reads the message, but few care to heed it. Many thousands die
from smoking every year.
It is now as if the entire world is smoking, and the health of the entire planet is
suffering. Species are disappearing, forests, jungles, and whole habitats are
vanishing. The ice at the north and south poles is dissolving, and the infamous
hole in the ozone is causing numerous tragedies to occur. The message is being
repeated, again and again, but no one cares, continuing to smoke and causing
harm throughout the world.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him said, "laa darar wa laa
diraar fil-Islam," 'neither harm nor reciprocation of harm is permitted in Islam'.
Causing harm is forbidden, and everything harmful is prohibited. He also said,
"al-Muslim man salima an-muslimoon min yadihi wa lisanihi," 'the Muslim is a
person from whose hand and tongue Muslims are safe.' This is the definition of a
Muslim, or anyone who submits to the Way of God. It is of no benefit for a
person who does not meet this description to say that he or she follows in the
Way of God. It is therefore not in the Way of God to commit acts of terror.
Anyone who claims that terrorism is a part of Islam, Christianity, Judaism,
Hinduism, or any religion is mistaken; no one can demonstrate this to be true.
Once again, if we would leave terror and obey our religion, the message sent by
God, we would attain peace, safety and harmony.
To all of humanity, I urge you to seek out the essence of your religion, then obey
it, as it will be your vehicle to safety. Obey your Lord, because your Lord and our
Lord are One God. If we all obey as we have been taught, there will be no more
suffering, no fighting, no hatred and no killing.
Furthermore, we must reconcile with one another. Last year, a group of
Christians came to the Holy Land to seek reconciliation. They said, "We came to
apologize. Our forefathers killed your forefathers, calling it a crusade in the
name of Jesus, but we know that was wrong. We apologize for their actions."
This is the way of Jesus, peace be upon him. If we followed the ways of our holy
ones, we would find a peace such as no one has ever believed could exist. For
there to be peace, all people must also apologize and emphasize that anyone
who killed using the name of God was by no means justified in doing so.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) returned to his hometown of
Mecca after its people had tortured him and his followers, cast him out, and
made war against him. When he returned he came with a great army of 124,000
soldiers. He addressed the chief of Makka and the people who were gathered,
asking, "O people of Quraish, what do you expect from me today?" They replied,
"Only the best from a noble brother and the son of a noble brother." The Prophet
said, "Depart, for today you are all free!" That is our principle: no revenge, no
harm, no retribution. For despite the persecution and torture his followers had
suffered, and despite the law providing for retribution of injury, the Prophet held
to a higher moral standard.
The Quran says:
And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in Allah; surely He is the
Hearing, the Knowing. [8, 61]
Therefore it is our duty to create the conditions for peace and to seek it out.
World peace cannot be achieved unless humanity returns to the essence of all
religions: mutual respect, forgiveness, and love.
Let us look at this century with new eyes, with eyes that see one another with
love. Let us recall that God fashioned each and every one of us with His Hands,
and blew into each and every one of us from His Spirit. Can anyone seek to
harm the Spirit of God? They would be only harming themselves, for it is a
reality that our world is one world and what happens to others affects us all. This
is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"Muslims are like one body, when one part becomes weak, the whole body
suffers."
Only if nations look at each other as one body, each part strengthening the
other, will we see a cure to our illnesses: spiritual, social, economic and political.
If one country is weak, others will suffer, and global confusion and distress will
be the result. Those nations with strong economies must support those that are
weak, in order to build global strength. Those legions of unemployed and
underpaid people, who have families dependent on them, must be helped. By
feeding them, we prevent the creation of angry unemployed armies, ready for
satan's service. This can only have a good result, where all nations of the world
will feel strong together. For as Allah said:
O humankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and female, and
made you into nations and tribes that you may know and deal with one another
in kindness ... Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is the most
righteous of you, and God is Knower, Aware. [Quran: 49,13]
I conclude by asking that each and every one of us seek to emulate the
perfected character of the holy ones, Prophets and Messengers and Perfected
ones who have gone before us. They attained perfection by holding to the
reason of their creation: servanthood to the Lord, Allah, our Sovereign Creator
through Eternity. In so doing, we will find not only peace, but love and
brotherhood. Let us leave this gathering and return to our peoples saying, "I met
many human beings. I forgave all of them and asked them to forgive me. I asked
them what I could do for them, and they responded, "love us as your brothers
and sisters, from the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve."

New York City, 28.8.2000 - 31.8.2000 (UN Millennium World Peace Summit for Religious and Spiritual Leaders)
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